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Creating Raised Beds Help


I have tried googling so please refrain from just replying with links unless they specifically answer my question.

I read that you need 30cm depth to cover any root veg so have ordered some 38cm high raised beds.

Do I need to remove the lawn where the beds will be going? Can grass grow up that high?

I searched for bulk soils and came across some vegetable compost. Would the bed benefit from being 100% compost or if not what should I do to it and in what percentages? Its the south facing side of the house in Derbyshire.

I read that I can prolong the life of the tantalised wood by painting it with some form of weather protection. Do I paint the inside of the bed too?

Do I need to line my bed with weed fabric?



  • BobFlannigonBobFlannigon Posts: 619

    That's a fairly high bed so I personally wouldn't bother removing the existing grass.

    Vegetable compost is perfect.  I usually find that it's better in the second year (basically when it's fully composted).  Avoid adding anything different unless you're able to sieve through it first.  A fine grade topsoil is probably good too and you can mix in some compost, if that's cheaper.

    Avoid treated woods as they leach into your soil and vegetables.  Outdoor paint is often water-based so might not tolerate being permanently wet.  So you could use gloss or an outdoor varnish, I'd probably use the varnish myself.

    Weed fabric?  No. The weeds will blow into it and grow on top as and when they please.  There's no way around weeding I'm afraid!

    Good luck!

  • endpaperendpaper Posts: 27

    I've got a mix of topsoil and compost and seem to be doing ok with it so far - this is my first time growing anything so I'm just learning.

    My plot is about a metre across - and a metre high! Helps slugs and my knees... but it made me think in terms of cost about how to combine the topsoil with the compost: and basically, I didn't. My topsoil has a lot of stones and I wanted to grow things like carrots so I put the topsoil at the bottom and the compost on top without mixing them. I wonder if that might be helpful as a way of thinking about it if you've got a large-ish space and you didn't want to spend all your money on compost.

    For example, if you've got a lot of horizontal space, maybe you could put more compost rich soil where you'll plant the things that appreciate it most, and a lower percentage for other areas.

    Something else I've learnt is that certain plants themselves enrich the soil in useful ways for others. I have some bush beans growing among my lettuces because lettuce likes lots of nitrogen and beans can capture it from the air and put it into the soil.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    As an experiment I have lined the inside of a raised bed with damp-proof course plastic.  Raised beds rot from the inside, where the soil is in contact with the wood.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,292

    My vegetable plot is raised and levelled land behind the house and it is held up by proper railway sleepers which were impregnated with preservative stuff for life on the tracks.

    Our chaps lined them with black plastic sheeting to protect them from water in the soil before they shipped in top soil from a field where the farmer was clearing soil to lay foundations for his new tractor shed.   Every autumn we bung on the contents of our compost bins for the worms to work in ready for spring planting.

    They've been there about 18 years now and are still going strong.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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